Technology has already transformed many professions and will continue to transform others. Tasks that, previously, were performed by qualified professionals can now be done by machines or by less skilled employees, with the help of technology. Richard Susskind, expert in legal technology, explains this in detail in a book he has written in collaboration with his son Daniel, The future of the professions: how technology will transform the work of human experts (OUP Oxford, 2017).
Certain professions – such as architecture and accounting – are becoming increasingly technology-oriented as they evolve. Even medics, for all their caution, do not totally reject change. Others, however – such as the legal profession – are more reluctant to change.
But Susskind holds a firm opinion on the matter, saying that it doesn’t make sense to feel threatened by technology, both because it is an unavoidable process that is not worth resisting (and, rather, should be welcomed as a challenge and an opportunity for the future) and because it means leaving the most laborious and menial tasks to the robots, as well as accessing an increasingly large wealth of knowledge, thus allowing humankind to progress even further.
Entrepreneurship, imagination and a mind that is open to change shall be the key tools with which each of us – the young and the more mature – can create a future of success in the world of work, that favours technology and human progress. It is up to young people which path they choose. They can compete with the emerging systems, seeking jobs that require creativity, communications and other skills that a machine cannot develop. Alternatively, they can help develop new and increasingly efficient technological systems that could replace old ways of working and create millions of jobs, which requires new skills and the ability to adapt.
An interview on Susskind’s thoughts on the future, the world of work and young people.